A Song about Alzheimers – Forever Changed

A Moving Song About AlzheimersListening to Forever Changed by Carrie Underwood isn’t easy.

In an interview with ABC Nightline in 2012, Ms. Underwood said the song is so personally emotional for her that she’ll never sing it in public.

Like most songs in country music, this one is the story of a life: One of the writers penned it about his mother living with Alzheimer’s. Like many of us, the song brings Carrie back to that difficult time when she lost her grandmother.

Change, How Do We Endure When It’s Coming At us So Hard

Most of us are familiar with the expression, “the only constant in life is change.” However, this kind of change, the change from Alzheimer’s or Dementia is an emotional tornado.

If you’ve personally experienced it in your family, you know only too well the torment and heartbreak it brings to those who have to watch their loved ones’ memories slip away. Equally worse is watching the hellish place of fear that their mind can intermittently create. It’s beyond words to bear witness when this happens to someone you love.

A lifetime of memories, a lifetime of work, a lifetime of love, taken for a period of time before our loved one passes on – that’s the story of this song.

Reflecting on Our Lives, Living with Love

The older I get, the more John Lennon’s simple message resonates with me, ‘All You Need is Love.’ Of course, society is set up to ensure ‘we need’ more to survive. However, in the end, it comes down to one measurement, love; are you loved, do you freely give love.

I like to think that for most of us, the answer is yes, and for those who answer ‘no,’ I send love from this page. What in the hell is it all for if we don’t love, genuinely love, even when it’s bloody hard to love someone, even when they don’t deserve our love?

I’m a proponent for ‘forgive everything,’ and I do mean everything. It’s how I’ve lived. It’s how I want my children to live; it’s the greatest gift they can give themselves and humanity. The people closest to us can hurt us the most, and in the end, forgiveness, as hard as it can be, is the only road to peace and, more importantly, our way back to self-love.

In my ‘Mom’s Messages‘ series, I speak to my family about this, so I’ll add this page to my growing list of written motherly advice.

When it’s my time to say goodbye to my children-angels, my life, and this journey as ‘me,’ I pray they know that my greatest wish for them is to be happy, to live simply, and to contribute to the greater good. I want them to know that they will forever be the greatest love I’ve ever known, equal to the love I hold for my mother and father.

I tell my kids how much they’re loved, and my parents have always done the same. My dad said, ‘I love you’ to just about everyone he knew. Mom and Dad taught me what it means to love, and if I never accomplish any of my dreams, in the end, it won’t matter because I know that I love deeply and am deeply loved.

(Lyrics) Nothing Ever Stays the Same, Forever Changed – A Song about Alzheimer’s

Life’s changing channels are often too much to handle. I wish I could lose the remote for that.

As much as I want ‘change‘ to stop, as much as I feel we need it to stop, it won’t. We’re all feeling the changes in this world, the pressures, the often heavy burdens we have to carry. However, there’s also a light, a bright shining light surrounding all of us. It’s this light that holds us when the world is too tough to bear; it’s this light that wraps us up in a heated blanket and leads us out of the darkness. It’s what gets me through. I believe it’s where hope comes from, from light, and light is truth.

The loss of my father on top of this now new challenge in our life hasn’t left me hopeless; it’s caused me to seek the light, and to hold it close when I feel that even taking a breath is hard.  And at night, when I can’t sleep, which is a little too often lately, I safely tuck my head on my pillow, close my eyes, and open the door to a field of beautiful yellow flowers and a sky blanketed with glorious mountains. There I meet my dad on a park bench in the middle of that field where we talk about life, and he gives me the strength to keep on. As I fall asleep with my head on his lap, he tells me I’m doing a great job, and that everything will work out. He asks me to trust him and reminds me how much he loves me, and with that reassurance, I fall asleep knowing I’ll be able to face another day.

I was one of the fortunate ones, my dad was never afflicted with Alzheimer’s, and for that, I am eternally grateful. For another loved one enduring Dementia, although it’s hard, we love them through it. Blessings to you and yours if you’re going through this often gut-wrenching changing part of life. Forever changed in body, and when the soul is freed from the burdens of the body, forever changed.

Helpful Information for others having to cope with the tremendous challenge of Alzheimer’s & Dementia:

  • For a more practical, matter of fact collection of info on Alzheimer’s you can also visit the National Institute on Aging 
  • If music helps with your healing, I’ve also written about another moving and beautiful song about Alzheimer’s by Rascal Flatts called ‘Ellsworth.’ The story talks about grandma’s enchanting memories as she travels back in her mind to re-live her journey with the love of her life, grandpa.

About the Song, Forever Changed

A Song About Alzheimers - Forever Changed by Carrie UnderwoodYou can find Forever Changed on Carrie Underwood’s fourth studio album, Blown Away. It was written by Tom Douglas, James T. Slater, & Hillary Lindsey. It was released on May 1st, 2012. The album debuted at number 1 on the Billboard 200 with its first week of sales. Fans of Carrie Underwood can find more information about her on her Website, Facebook, and Twitter.

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Comments (14)

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  1. Merry says:

    While I am getting up the nerve to listen to the song I want to tell you what a lovely article this is. I bet your children will be inspired throughout their lives by the example you’re giving them. So often, even when we don’t think we are getting through, it sinks in. Your decision to ‘love them through it’ is also the best for the disease. Sadly, there isn’t much we can do about their path, except meet them where they are and love them. They respond to that more than anything else. Thank you Barbara.

  2. Merry, thank you for the thoughtful comment, and you’re right, you have to be reaady to listen to this song, it’s beautiful, personal and it does make the listener cry. Songwriting at it’s best. Blessings to you too Merry, I think about you a great deal when I’m writing about this topic.

  3. Ruth Cox says:

    Listening to “Forever Changed” I can certainly understand why Carrie Underwood feels it would be difficult to sing live. This is truly a song that hits too close to home and heart for many but one those hearts will never forget once they’ve heard it. I will be sharing this with a friend who is living through this as sole caretaker for her mother.

  4. Thanks for the visit Ruth, and for sharing the page, appreciate you <3

  5. Barbara, this was such a touching song. Makes anyone who has a heart, feel for those who go through such a terrible thing. I can understand her inability to sing this song live…if it were me, I’d break down in tears, unable to go on. I pray that in the near future someone will be able to find a way to conquer this terrible condition. Thank you for sharing this song and I google+ed it, shared on FB, and on Linkedin and tsu.

  6. Nancy, thanks kindly – so many people are coping with either a loved one afflicted with this or are caretakers or family members – we need a cure for this, it’s just brutal. Thank you for the shares too. <3

  7. Cynthia says:

    It is always so extremely difficult to read anything related to Alzheimers. It does, indeed, almost kill you to watch a loved ones memories slip away and the horrific confusion they face daily. It is a cruel, devastating disease that takes a lot more victims than just the one. As always, you have touched my heart and brought forth the tears and the memories.

  8. Cynthia thank you. You put it so well when you said, ‘it takes a lot more victims than just the one’ – that’s true – we need a cure for this disease, like you said, it’s cruel and devastating.

  9. Julie Hill says:

    Mom has dementia and has been in the nursing home for over seven years. It speeded up rapidlyafter dad died. It is sad when she can’t remember my dad or the grandkids. She calls me her sister, sometimes. But at least she still remembers us.

  10. I’m so sorry Julie, it’s incredibly difficult to go through this, blessings to you and your family and I hope you all can stay strong through the process

  11. Margaret says:

    Barbara dear, it’s hard to know for whom Alzheimer’s is more cruel, the person suffering from the disease and knows it or the people who must watch their loved one suffer and eventually must face the fact that their parent, spouse, sister, brother, etc. no longer even recognizes them. I’m sure that your words, this song, and the other resources you’ve shared here will provide comfort and support to many people who need it. Brava, my wonderful friend.

  12. Thanks Margaret, you’re such a compassionate person. The comments on the facebook fan page on this post are gut wrenching, so many people coping with someone with this disease. Very difficult indeed.

  13. I’ve not experienced Alzheimer’s personally in my family, but have friends who are caregivers, so I know what a difficult disease it is to cope with. Songs such as this one by Carrie Underwood help with understanding. Lovely article, Barbara.

  14. Thanks for stopping by Pat. I haven’t experienced it my immediate family but have elsewhere. Such a horrible way for a life to end. This is the one cure I believe they need to obsess over acquiring.

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